Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Devanand Sinanan said yesterday about 14 schools will not be reopening today because some of them are still undergoing repairs. He also appealed to principals to refrain from conducting school if the conditions are deemed unsafe for their teachers and pupils.
Sinanan said in a telephone interview: “I know about 14 schools will not be reopening. I expect more teachers to call us and give us feedback. There are issues like repairs which still need to be addressed. Schools undergoing repairs are Plum Road Presbyterian and Nipal Presbyterian. We are looking at Arima Central and Arima Hindu School. We are keeping a close watch on South East Secondary.”
Sinanan added: “We would want to remind parents they have a responsibility to ensure their children are accommodated in schools that are safe and secure. Parents have a responsibility to ensure their health and safety is not threatened in one way or another. In instances where there is disruption, parents must take steps to ensure their children are well-supervised. They have a responsibility to ensure the child is engaged in constructive activity. They will have to play a critical role in holding the authorities accountable.”
Sinanan said pupils were most affected when there is a disruption in teaching time. He said: “If there is a disruption in the start of the term that translates into a loss of teaching time. Depending upon the quantum of teaching time lost, the onus is on teachers to take great steps to make up for the lost time.”
Sinanan paid kudos to the teachers for their “creativity and committment” to their charges. He said: “I know teachers are creative because of their level of commitment to their pupils. They will do whatever is necessary to make up for the lost time.”
However Sinanan said he was concerned about the teachers’ safety, too.
He said: “If our teachers go out to schools and they faced with a threat to lives and safety, they have the right under the law to take a certain course of action. They can ask to be relocated from one part of the compound to another. If the entire plant is deemed unsafe, they can remove themselves from the plant after they have duly informed the authorities about the action they have taken. They also have to inform the union or the district representatives.”